Tuesday, February 17, 2015

"There's not a lot of women doing big war movies," admits Becky Sullivan, the sole female nominee in this year's Oscar sound editing race. But then there are not a lot of women directing war movies, either, one of the rare exceptions being Angelina Jolie, who helmed Unbroken — for which Sullivan is nominated along with Andrew DeCristofaro.

Sullivan, who had worked on Jolie's 2011 directorial debut, In the Land of Blood and Honey, joined Universal Studios Sound in the spring, so she was in exactly the right place when Unbroken came around. She recently completed work on Fifty Shades of Grey and plans to reunite with Jolie in March on By the Sea, a marital drama Jolie not only is directing but also will star in opposite her husband, Brad Pitt.

Sullivan insists she does not give much thought to the fact that she's a woman excelling in a male-dominated field. But in working with Jolie, she witnessed firsthand how a woman can bring a particular point of view to a project that not every male director exhibits. "She's very generous of heart, and she has a vision," attests Sullivan. "Instead of saying, 'I don't like …,' she would say, 'I want this emotion,' and she would allow us the creativity to find that emotion. She's very collaborative."

To get where she is now, Sullivan followed a classic Hollywood path to success: She started as a receptionist to get a foot in the door and, by working extremely hard, rose steadily through the ranks to earn credits as a supervising sound editor.

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